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Public Statements

Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act Of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I could not support Senate passage of S. 3240, the ``2012 Farm Bill.'' CBO estimates the Senate's Farm Bill will consume a colossal amount of taxpayer dollars--at least $966 billion over 10 years. While I agree that we need nutrition programs to assist low-income families as well as programs to ensure farmers receive a fair return on their labors, the fact remains we are living in an era of crushing national debt and runaway government spending. Ultimately, the American people, both farmers and consumers, lose under this bill.

Farm Bill programs are ripe for reform. Unfortunately, we rejected amendments to fix USDA's sugar programs which cost American consumers $3 billion annually in artificially high sugar prices. We created several new so-called ``shallow-loss'' subsidy programs, which could balloon to $14 billion each year if crop prices drop from today's record high levels and return to average prices. We implemented a new $3 billion cotton program that may exacerbate our ongoing trade dispute at the World Trade Organization. We could have eliminated the outdated mohair subsidies, but didn't, and wound up creating several new and unnecessary subsidy programs for products like popcorn and maple syrup. We've made some progress on imposing stricter payment limits on subsidies and we eliminated wasteful and duplicative USDA programs like the Catfish Inspection Office. Unfortunately, much more remains to be fixed in the Senate's farm bill before I could support it.

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